Green fingers to get hospital grounds bloomin' marvellously

Morag Neeld at work in the North Walsham Memorial Hospital garden.  

Morag Neeld at work in the North Walsham Memorial Hospital garden. - Credit: Richard Batson

Garden lovers in North Walsham have formed a team to bring blooms back to the grounds of their local hospital.

The volunteers are giving up their spare time to prune, weed and tidy the grounds of the War Memorial Hospital off Yarmouth Road.

The team was set up by the hospital's friends' group, who have also bought tools and gardening materials to use.

The garden volunteers team at North Walsham Memorial Hospital.

The garden volunteers team at North Walsham Memorial Hospital. - Credit: Richard Batson

Friends' chairman Keith Jarvis said he was thrilled that the gardening group had swung into action, following delays due to the pandemic. 

Mr Jarvis said: "We are delighted to see the volunteers working on the garden, where we are also funding new benches and picnic tables.


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"The gardens are a lovely place to sit away from the ward, and where staff can enjoy a well-earned break outside."

Ian Lovick, a volunteer from Aviva, volunteers in the garden at North Walsham Memorial Hospital. 

Ian Lovick, a volunteer from Aviva, volunteers in the garden at North Walsham Memorial Hospital. - Credit: Richard Batson

The friends have bought wheelbarrows and compost for the helpers, who are a mix of local people and Aviva employees carrying out a corporate community project.

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The Norfolk Community and Health Care Trust, which runs the North Walsham unit, has also bought garden tools from its charity fund to help the project.

Among the group's first tasks has been a smartening up the beds around an outdoor patio area, where patients, visitors and staff sit to relax.

Wendy Bryant, volunteer co-ordinator, said: “We were all set up to launch this in April – then lockdown happened.

"So now we are getting the group off the ground for the first time, and they are already making a difference.”

Ms Bryant said more keen gardeners were wanted to join the hospital team.

She said they could either drop in on their own, or work with volunteer colleagues, and could let her know they were interested by emailing wendy.bryant@nchc.nhs.uk.

The Friends would also welcome any new members keen to help them in their role of providing 'extras' to help hospital patients, visitors or staff.

Other things currently on their agenda are improving a wild flower meadow on the left hand side of the driveway, and resurrecting plans for a visitors’ overnight room that was put on ice during the pandemic.

For more information about the Friends, their work, and how to support or join their activities, please visit www.northwalshamhospitalfriends.org.uk.

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